I'm applying the tool titled 'Inner Authority' from The Tools to help me overcome the habit of self-criticism.

I suspect that much of my self-criticism stems from avoidance. And that avoidance is because my shadow is deeply afraid of being judged by others. It hurts my ego and something early in my childhood is still running the show. I suspect that my older brother was critical of my faults as a child. He had all the attention until I showed up. Further, he's exceptionally smart. I'm not. And I know that people who are brilliant can be frustrated as others lack the ability to keep up.

I have always suffered from a lack of self-confidence.

The work of Inner Authority is to turn your shadow into your partner. When you turn your shadow into your partner, it is no longer seen as an enemy. Your shadow actually becomes the source of your authentic self-expression.

It's about acknowledging the gifts rather than focusing on the faults. The more we appreciate all aspects of ourselves (especially the parts we hide), the more self-confident we become in being our authentic selves.

To live from your higher self or wiser self, you must be your whole self which includes embracing your shadow self.

How often do you find fault in yourself and others?

Don’t complain about your world. Take steps to make it better.

When you ask for help, you have nothing to lose.

If our request isn't honored, nothing is lost because you didn't have the help to begin with. It's only when we expect someone to help that we experience loss. And it's when we take it personally that the rejection lingers.

Embracing Inner Authority

The big idea is to embrace what you once saw as an obstacle; the aspects of yourself you don't like (your shadow), and to become partners.

The tool was best understood around the concept of Writer's Block:

Writer's block happens when writers become more interested in the outcome of their efforts and lose sight of the process itself. An indication you're heading down this unproductive path is when you try to make your work perfect and are concerned about the opinions of others. Harsh self-criticism erupts.

Instead, remind yourself of the first time you did something. You had nothing to lose. Get back to that place.

The 3 steps:

This is your true voice. We all have unique voices. Where we get tripped up is when we attempt to fit the mold of society.

It's our fear of being judged by others. Our fear of looking bad. Our fear of not knowing (especially those of us who are Type 5s.)

Nothing to Lose

The goal is no longer to seek approval of our peers (or society). But rather to express our unique selves freely, as we were design. Your flaws where never flaws, but just aspects of yourself that others didn't approve of.

When you don't need the approval of others, you have nothing to lose.
When you have nothing to lose, everything is a gain.
You never had their approval to begin with, so why did you think you had something to lose?

Our worst critic

If you're your own worst critic, consider looking at the source of your discontent. It may stem from your tendency to be a people pleaser. Being a people pleaser means we are placing our self-worth in the hands of others. I personally have this problem. It might stem from a deep-seated sense of trying to please my parents, classmates, and fear of being disliked and excluded.

Noticing the critic

It begins with noticing when the critic within us begins to emerge.

What the critic is really is doing is just nudging you to follow-thru on something meaningful. Deciding what's important is the first step. If you always say yes, but need to say no, you're giving your critic an opening.

If you aren't committed to it, but aren't clearly decommitting yourself either, you are by default setting an expectation that is not likely to be met.

Authentic Voices

I'm also considering that my inability to honor the authentic voice of another has been a major hurdle in my life. If I don't agree with somebodies POV, or I sense that what they are saying is dishonest, I have a tendency to tune them out.

Strategies to overcome self-criticism

  1. This cake may not have frosting, but it's still cake. Don't fixate on the 10% that could be better, focus on the 90% that is good.
  2. Make a list of all the attributions you appreciate about [FILL IN] instead of the things you don't like.
  3. Notice when the urge arises to say something and don't act. The mantra sometimes it's better to do nothing rings true. Or tell yourself it can wait. Then sleep on it - better yet, wait 48 hours. If it still needs to be said, then say it. But more often by then, you'll forget about it or have no problem saying let it pass.
  4. Remember that your feelings are created by your thoughts and not reality. It's your thinking that is the seed of all criticism and you don't need to believe everything you think.
  5. Be the one who has nothing to prove. Self-confidence is rooted in this POV. When you criticize, you attend to an outcome outside your control. Doing so only amplifies your unwillingness to be with what is.

Criticism - whether directed at yourself or otherwise is toxic energy.